San Antonio’s New Years Eve party goes on as planned despite COVID-19 surge

SAN ANTONIO – After a one-year hiatus, San Antonio’s New Year’s Eve party Celebrate SA is back on and in-person.

The event took place after University Hospital officials and city leaders urged people to avoid large gatherings, even if they’re outdoors, to help curb the spread of COVID-19 and prevent hospitals from exceeding capacity.

Hospital officials said they’re seeing an increase in trauma, heart attack and stroke patients, in addition to an uptick in COVID-19 visits.

They fear the virus spike will continue to worsen following Christmas celebrations, and with New Year’s Eve gatherings added to the mix, it could fill up the remaining beds.

University Health officials are asking people to only go to the emergency room if it is an emergency.

“Omicron is highly, highly transmissible and in order to break the chain, we’re asking people to wear masks. Don’t gather in tight crowds,” said Mayor Ron Nierenberg.

Although the city’s party plans went on as anticipated, Nirenberg urged residents to proceed with caution, and if possible, avoid large gatherings.

Many people who attended the city’s celebration wore masks, but many did not.

Some attendees said choosing to celebrate in-person comes with risk, but it’s a risk some are willing to take.

“I think if you’re sick, you should stay inside. If you’re not sick, then you should be able to go out and party,” said Seattle Lamphere.

“If you’re elderly, I would imagine you probably wouldn’t be out here. I would hope not. If you do, I mean, that’s on you I guess,” said Patrick Walsh.

Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff joined the plea of University Health and Nirenberg, reminding residents to get vaccinated to protect themselves and the community against COVID-19.

“80% of our hospitalizations are unvaccinated, so I would say to you if you got an unvaccinated friend, try and talk him into getting it or stay the hell away from them,” said Judge Wolff.

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About the Authors

John Paul Barajas is a reporter at KSAT 12. Previously, he worked at KRGV 5 in the Rio Grande Valley. He has a degree from the University of Houston. In his free time, he likes to get a workout in, spend time on the water and check out good eats and drinks.

Gavin Nesbitt is a photojournalist and video editor who joined KSAT in September 2021. He has traveled across the great state of Texas to film, conduct interviews and edit many major news stories, including the White Settlement church shooting, Hurricane Hanna, 2020 presidential campaigns, Texas border coverage and the Spurs.

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